“Mama He’s Crazy” might be the song she’s singing, but she’s the one feeling crazy.

Ashley Deshais, of St. Maries was scheduled to audition at 1 p.m. Tuesday (June 21). Thankfully this first round of auditions is virtual, she said.

In fact, by the time you read this article, she may already know whether or not she’s made it to the next round.

The Voice is a singing reality competition television series that started in 2011. It has run 21 seasons and aims to find undiscovered vocal talent through auditions, chooses the best to coach, sponsors a contest and allows the public to vote for their favorites. The winner receives $100,000 and a record deal.

Mrs. Deshais said she always watched singers audition on television shows like The Voice, American Idol and Nashville Star. She’s even auditioned once herself.

“Two years ago, I did audition for American Idol,” she said. “But I was just getting over laryngitis and my voice was still raspy. I sang ‘American Honey’ by Lady A. They said I had a great voice and could tell that was just getting over something and to try again next year.”

Unfortunately, the Covid pandemic shut down everything the following year and Mrs. Deshais never got back to it… until this month.

“We were on the way to my grandma’s house and were sitting in traffic waiting on road construction and scrolling through Facebook when I saw the invitation to sign up for an audition on The Voice,” she said. “I grew up watching all the shows but that was the one my mom loved.”

Mrs. Deshais was born in Texas, but grew up in Arkansas. She moved to Idaho with her husband after her mother passed away.

She read the post to her husband, Errol, while they sat waiting in traffic. And when she read that this was the last year for the show, he said she had to do it.

“Before my mom passed, I promised that I would do it and this was going to be my last chance, so I signed up,” she said.

Though she describes herself as outgoing, Mrs. Deshais said she really is nervous to sing in front of people. More than a decade ago she used to sing at a karaoke bar with her cousin, who has since passed, and she’s sang in church before, but she admits she hasn’t sang much in front of people lately. Most of her singing has been in the privacy of her home where only passersby might overhear.

She is scheduled to audition at 1 p.m. today (Wednesday, June 22). Thankfully this first round of auditions is virtual, she said

“I’m going to the room, shut the door, do my audition, send it in and be done,” she said. “I know there are tons of angels going to be rooting for me. Even if I don’t make it through to the next round at least I did it.”

If she makes it to the next round, she will be expected to travel and audition a second time but in front of the judges.

“I’m not sure how I’m going to do it,” she said. “But I’ll worry about that if I get to move on. Their backs will be turned, so maybe that will help. Maybe I’ll just have to start practicing singing at the park and in church in front of people to get used to it again.”

She said she should know that day whether or not she is selected to move on to the next round.

So far, the hardest part has been choosing a song to sing. Mrs. Deshais loves country music and is partial to singers like Dolly Parton, Vince Gill and the Judds.

“I’ve always sung country music, so if I was going to get picked I’d hope I get Blake,” she said. “Who wouldn’t want Blake as your coach.”

As of the Thursday before, when she was interviewed, Mrs. Deshais was entertaining the idea of singing “Momma He’s Crazy” by the Judds.

“I’ve been singing so much Judds at the house that my four-year-old knows that song word for word,” she said. “When Errol and I first met, I was wearing this black hat and I had red hair and he said I reminded him of Wynona Judd. I thought that it was funny because that’s one of my favorite country artists.”

Mr. and Mrs. Deshais have seven children, four of which live at home with them in St. Maries. Her father lives in Hayden and her grandmother lives in Harrison.

“We’ve been here for seven years in August and I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else,” she said. “Errol said he always wanted to find a place that reminded him of Alaska and this was it. I said as long as it doesn’t snow bad, I‘ll be fine. Well, it does snow bad, but the summers are so amazing, so it makes up for the horrible winters.”

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